Handwriting has been a hot topic in our Simply Kinder Facebook group lately. So we gathered up everyone’s fantastic tips for teaching handwriting so they are all in one place for you!
Tips For Teaching Handwriting
-I constantly repeat the correct way to form the letter, every time I model whole group writing. So for A, I would say “start at the top slant down, slant down cross it in the middle” the more I say it the more they internalize it so when writing they form the letters the correct way.
– I go large motor to small motor… start in the air, then whiteboards then unlined paper and finally to tracing papers and independent writing. Also, use verbal paths as they write
-We even do “elephant writing,” or skywriting with verbal pathways. Both hands clasped, writing in the air as big as the person.
-Start with just the “pieces” so they understand the movements. Slants, straight down, cross, over back and around, etc. then put them together as letters
-I don’t use lined paper to start. I had way more success last year teaching on unlined paper or whiteboards until around March. Then I pulled out lined paper and started back at the beginning of our handwriting lessons.
-Ours starts with C, O, G because they are all similar to write. I use shaving cream so they can practice with fingers first. Keep having them practice and practice. I also try to do handwriting in centers. That way I can help them in groups so I can catch kids going bottom to top or the ones who aren’t writing the letter correctly.
– I have an alligator drawn on a poster. He is really cute and posh with a top hat. The student knows that this alligator only eats the best. He is healthy that way. His food: …the neatest and correctly formed letters. I have large sheets for the students to practice without lines…I model and let them write with markers, large pencils, paintbrushes.
As the kiddos start to get the formation right, I model the letter written in a line and we all practice again and again. 12 minutes a day!
Usually, by the end of the week, most are ready for K handwriting lines. We keep modeling, practicing until…the alligator accepts the best work! We all celebrate the kids get an alligator pencil from him.
It all takes time…but I don’t move on until the letter formation is correct and neat. It saves me time down the road from correcting and retraining.
Kids love the high expectations, the fun ways to practice, the choice of writing tools and even colors of paper. They love hanging their best work around the alligator board, and the key to this all is the celebration and acknowledgment of their best.
-Lots of affirmations by you- “I saw you start at the top!”
-We introduce the letters in a different pattern rather than in order. I also show the students how we write- Topline is called the roof, the dotted line is called the window, the lower line is called the floor and any letters that hang below is called the basement. I have a visual and refer to the roof, window, floor, and basement every time we write. This has helped us tremendously. I model and show them floating letters etc. We always struggle in the beginning but by mid-year, we have great handwriting with little mistakes. By the end of the year, we have fantastic handwriting, for most. Just remember- model, practice, visuals, procedures, and repeat
-We start with stick letters first, then move into curved letters. Start with “c” so then when you do other letters; a, o, d, q, and g, you can just say “first make a c.”
-I use the terms sky, fence and ground for the lines. We practice writing lines first (straight, slant, curve, etc.) so they learn how to draw lines. Then, they are familiar with the terms that they can relate to; and I feel this helps them understand what I’m asking and how to do it themselves. I also use giraffe (sky to ground), chicken (fence to the ground), monkey (has a tail that digs in the ground) to describe lower case letters. I have visual posted for their reference.
-We teach lines first through CKLA & use play-doh & vertical surface practice before paper pencil. I find it works really well!
-I also tell/remind the students that letters and numbers are formed like rain….from top to bottom. Have them make it rain with their hands and see the top to bottom. I also have students air trace which I find helpful before sitting down for independent practice with pencil and paper.
-Make writing fun! Write letters in rice or salt, use markers, chalk, make letters out of playdough and legos, tracing sandpaper letters. When they enjoy the journey it becomes so much easier and enjoyable for you as the teacher.
-Do some “pre-handwriting” like tracing lines, zig-zags, waves, circles, etc. I’ve found lots of print outs online. Put them in sheet protectors and let them trace with whiteboard markers. Also, print out the same letter worksheets and do the same thing with sheet protectors, use them as a center. It will take them all year, it’s not developmentally appropriate to be perfect at this point!
-Set up some fine motor stations to strengthen those little fingers. Play-doh shapes, tongs to move pompons from dish to circles, tweezers to pick up pony beads, pipe cleaners through a colander, beans in lines/zigzags, squeezing squishies, cut/match/glue, trace shapes/lines with fun markers/pens, dot dauber pictures.
Do you have any other tips for teaching handwriting to add to the list?